Australia is set to take a conservative approach when it selects its pace attack for the highly anticipated test series against South Africa beginning next month.
Fast bowling coach Allister de Winter says "common sense" will dictate that experienced pair Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus and rising star James Pattinson will be considered first for the Brisbane test starting on November 9.
Australia's bowlers are in rude health heading into the summer with the likes of Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins and Josh Hazlewood all possibilities to fight for a fourth spot if an all-out pace attack is preferred in any of the three matches.
But de Winter says Siddle, Hilfenhaus and Pattinson's form in Australia's most recent test series will stand them in good stead.
"I think based on performance Hilfenhaus, Siddle and Pattinson are probably the leading candidates to be selected and that's just a common sense approach given that they did so well last summer and in the West Indies," de Winter told reporters at Bellerive.
Siddle and Pattinson's claims will be boosted by their match fitness with the red ball in Victoria's Sheffield Shield matches.
Australia's other candidates have been taking part in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa, where de Winter has been impressed with their form.
He said teenage tearaway Cummins was likely to be managed through Shield cricket and would need to perform there.
"We'd certainly like to see him playing some Sheffield Shield cricket first and get his workload up and then it becomes a form issue," he said.
"Nobody's a given to be selected in any test match but certainly he's one that we'd like to see fast-tracked into Sheffield Shield cricket and make sure that when his opportunity comes he's as ready as he can be."
De Winter said he had met out of favour Mitchell Johnston in Johannesburg and the left-armer remained in the mix for test cricket.
Is cricket still NZ's top summer sport?Related story: Rain can't save Black Caps from big defeat